Software art with practical usage

“Artists have always been fascinated by imperfection. A little failure, a small mistake, an unexpected behaviour can be perceived as more meaningful and intriguing than the perfect artwork. This is even more relevant in the computer world where pushing the breaking point of technology is common practice, as shown by a renewed interest in glitch aesthetics over the past few years. A recent example of an art project intrigued by software malfunctions is Extrafile by Kim Asendorf. It consists of a native Mac OS X image converter application with the ability to open, preview and save the most common image file formats in seven different new formats: 4Bit Components, Block Ascii, Block Indexed, Channel Compressed Image, Monochrome Collector File, Uniform Spectrum and the ExtraFile Format, each one with its own properties. With this new set of formats, the aim is to “wiggle the static system of image file formats” and give the artist complete control over their digital artwork. Formalising the visual aspect of glitches in new fictitious ways outside the commercial formats allows the artist to exercise control and to not be at the mercy of the computer. It also provides exclusivity for the artists, so they’re not just using the same old formats as everyone else. As Asendorf puts it “ExtraFile is a pioneer art project in storing image data. The process and the resulting bytes, regardless of content, become the artwork itself”. Being a software art project, Extrafile’s potential as a process is increased by its open source nature. The source code is indeed available on GitHub under the Artistic License 2.0, making this piece conceptual software art with practical usage – quite a rare quality in the online art scene”.
by Valentina Culatti


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